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News/Business. Harley Pasternak. (2011) Fitness expert Harley Pasternak; surprise checks for a mother and daughter; last minute steals and deals; popular tech gifts. New. (CC)

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Us 17, Ann 11, Baltimore 11, Nbc 9, Martha Stewart 9, Carl 9, America 7, Tony Bennett 7, Europe 7, Hollywood 7, Florida 6, Washington 6, Chicago 6, Sears 5, Joran Van Der Sloot 5, Obama 5, Romney 5, New York 5, Lauren Scruggs 4, Matt Lauer 4,
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  ABC    ABC News Good Morning America    News/Business. Harley Pasternak.  (2011) Fitness expert  
   Harley Pasternak; surprise checks for a mother and daughter;...  

    December 21, 2011
    7:00 - 9:00am EST  

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. good morning. where's the holiday cheer? president obama and house speaker john boehner square off as the tax payroll cut goes down to the wire. and newt gingrich blasts mitt romney for what he calls politics in its worst form. "today" republican hopeful michele bachmann weighs in. grilled. piers morgan testifies saying he had no knowledge of illegal activities when he ran two of london's biggest tabloids. but this morning, one of his former reporters is claiming under oath that just can't be true. and not so special delivery. a fedex worker drops off a computer monitor by tossing it over a fence. the shipping giant shocked, and
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we're guessing that guy might just have made his last delivery for them, "today," wednesday, december 21st, 2011. captions paid for by nbc-universal television from nbc news, this is "today," with matt lauer and ann curry. live, from studio 1-a in rockefeller plaza. and welcome to "today" on this wednesday morning, i'm ann curry. >> and i'm carl quintanilla, matt has the morning off. and time is quickly running out for congress to extend the payroll tax cut. >> that's right, house speaker john boehner is demanding senators return to washington after a two-month extension was rejected. but he was saying it's the only way to avoid a tax hike january 1st. we're expecting a lot of americans. >> absolutely. also, a florida doctor who has come to the unlikely defense of accused murderer bjorn van der sloot, sending him packages, even pays his legal bills.
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this morning, van der sloot calls his guardian angel speaks about about their help. >> and a minnesota family's extreme christmas card tradition. take a look at this. from christmas bulbs to ginger bread men. they really outdid themselves this year. let's just say there were antlers involved. with taxing times for both lawmakers in washington and the gop presidential field, nbc's political director and chief white house correspondent chuck todd is on the campaign trail in key new hampshire and more. chuck, good morning. >> good morning, ann. gridlock is still the word of the day on capitol hill, as this fight over the payroll tax between the house and senate escalated to another level with president obama and speaker boehner exchanging charges of brinksmanship. another deadlock on capitol hill tuesday. >> the ayes are 229, the nays are 193.
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>> as house republicans decided voting against the bill, that included a two-month extension of the tax holiday, saying negotiate one year or nothing. with the january 1st deadline, spiker john boehner called on president obama to get more involved. >> i think president obama needs to call on senate democrats to go back into session. >> reporter: but president obama urged house republicans to pass the senate's bill. >> let's be clear. right now, the bipartisan compromise that was reached on saturday is the only viable way to prevent a tax hike on january 1st. it's the only one. >> reporter: meanwhile, the presidential race is just as heated. newt gingrich continues to complain about all the negative ads being run against him that have put his iowa chances in jeopardy. >> you've seen one of these candidates running negative ads, ask them to stop it. just look them in the eye and say, "it's unworthy of iowa and it's unworthy of america." >> reporter: they are mostly from a so-called super pack that supports mitt romney.
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and on tuesday, romney tried to distance himself from the group, restore our future. >> super packs have to be entirely separate from a campaign and candidate. i'm not allowed to communicate with a super pack in any way, shape or form. my goodness, if we coordinate in any way whatsoever, we go to the big house. >> reporter: but gingrich did not say his denial. >> these comments are misleading, clearly false. and politics in its worst form. >> reporter: while gingrich and romney fought each other, the rest of the field attacked them together, as rick perry did in this ad. >> made millions off freddie mac. >> reporter: romney is in new hampshire this week, not iowa. and on tuesday, he gave his closing argument speech in front of special lights, high-end cameras and a teleprompter, a speech destined to be a tv ad. >> i'm tired of a president who wakes up every day, looks out across america, and is proud to announce, "it could be worse." if i'm president, i will wake up every day and remind americans that not only must we do better,
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but also that we can do better. >> reporter: and as newt gingrich wakes up this morning in iowa, there's a new romney super pack negative ad hitting him. by the way, later today, both gingrich and romney will be in new hampshire, but they're unlikely to cross paths. ann? >> chuck todd, thanks. with just 13 days to go before the iowa caucus's gop presidential hopeful michele bachmann is barnstorming through all 99 counties. joining us is congresswoman bachmann. good morning. >> good morning, ann. it's a pleasure to be with you this morning. we're actually almost halfway through our 99-county tour. we're doing about ten counties a day. it's ambitious, but it's been a lot of fun and the response overwhelming. >> you look no worse for the wear. i want to ask you about this payroll tax deal -- controversy. did house speaker john boehner mislead the senate into thinking this payroll tax extension was a done deal? or has he lost all control of
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republican tea party members of the house? >> well, i think what we saw with both the senate dismissing and with the house leaving is that there is a real lack of leadership in washington, d.c. the president, unfortunately, has been awol in this process since early last summer, and now here we are. and people all across the united states are throwing their hands up saying, we still have no answers. the people are very upset. harry reid essentially threw a grenade over into the house and left, and said take it or leave it. so it was very difficult for john boehner, because this was just a two-month temporary gimmick, and this leaves the entire united states, business world, in an up roar. because who can make any plans based on a two-month bill? >> if you're saying -- >> it's very difficult. what the house wanted was a full year bill. >> if you're saying that there was a need for leadership, then why wasn't this bill, which
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would extend the tax cut for working families and for middle class americans, why was it not worth your getting off the campaign trail and going back to fight for it? >> well, because there was no resolution. it was obvious that nothing was going to happen. president obama wasn't willing to engage in the process. harry reid made a decision, like i said, to throw over a two-month bill. i was fully prepared to go back if there was something that we could vote on. but it was very clear from the beginning that this was about politics. and that's what people are tired. they don't want the politics. they just want the country to work again and so do i. >> on the topic of politics, you wrote on op-ed recently for "the des moines register," and quote, whether iowans choose me or one of the other candidates, the time is long overdue that a person of character is returned to the office. is president obama not a person of character? >> well, what i'm looking at is
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the federalist papers that the founders wrote, that the most important aspect for our country is a person of character. and that's been a question among all of the republicans -- >> you used the words "return to the white house." you're saying return to the white house. you're questioning whether the president is a person of character. >> well, what i'm saying in those remarks is as people are choosing who will be the nominee for our party, will the person have character in that they are a person of their word, they have honesty, their integrity, you can trust what they say. that's one thing people know about me, i'm very sincere, i'm very authentic, i say what i mean, i mean what i say, and my word is my bond. i think that's very important for our next candidate for president. >> all right. well congresswoman michele bachmann, we know you got up early to talk to us early, and we are grateful for that. thank you very much. >> good morning, ann.
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thank you. in. now here's carl. the dow gained 337 points on tuesday. its best day of the month. what was behind the surge and will it last? jim cramer is the host of "mad money" on cnbc. he joins us here. jim, good morning. >> good morning, carl. >> a lot of explanations for what happened yesterday. there was some decent news out of europe, not bad news out of housing. what do you think happened? >> i think housing is very important, it's been in the doldrums for such a long time, carl. the idea that we're starting to build more apartments, very strong. lots of jobs created by that kind of building. didn't hurt that europe was off the front page for a few minutes. >> yeah, your paint has been lately that if you can take europe and make it a second-page story, the strength of the american economy is actually pretty good, relative to other economies. >> the plumbing getting better, retail sales getting better, auto sales getting better. the stock market -- the dow jones average, best in the world. people forget that we're the only ones up. >> so days like this, are there
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more to follow? >> i think there could be. i think europe is working on a real solution that will make it so things get better which allows us to shine. carl, we are in better shape than almost any economy in the world. >> let's drill down on housing real quick. best in about a year-and-a-half. people have been waiting for a bottom in housing for a very long time. is this it? >> i think that 2012 could lead to one. the building that we have seen is apartment complexes, not single-family homes, but at least there's some demand. carl, there has been no demand, despite how low mortgage rates are. this could be a turn. >> this month alone, monday was the lowest level for the dow for december. tuesday the highest. so are people safe jumping in, if it's going to be this volatile. >> i think they should wait for the next big decline. they seem to give them to us all of the time. but go with safe stocks with good dividends. don't go for high-flyers. they may be finished for now. >> 2012. of do you see any of this crazy roller coaster action smoothing out at all? >> no. i think that this is the new
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normal. that said, i keep pointing out that we are stronger than others. that's going to start bringing money to this country from overseas. >> we should point out, though, you're still very discouraged about europe, the way they have handled their problems, and to a degree, that's going to hold our markets down somewhat, right? >> every time we hear something negative, we will give up the gains. monday was bad, negative europe. tuesday, off the front page, we go up. it will be ying-yang for all of 2012, too, until they offer substantive solutions to europe. they're not as smart as we thought. >> it's still the most instructive i've heard you lately on stocks. >> housing means a lot to this economy, because it puts people to work. we've got to put people to work, carl. and had is a sign that maybe it's happening. >> jim, see you back at the office. as a reminder, you can catch jim on "mad money," weeknights at 6:00 and 11:00 eastern time on cnbc. here's ann. >> carl, thank you. we turn now to the phone-hacking scandal in great britain, and new questions today about piers morgan, the former newspaper editor there who is now hosting a show on cnn.
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one of his former reporters has pointedly pointing a finger directly at him the day after morgan was forced to answer some tough questions. nbc's stephanie gosk is in london with more on this story this morning. stephanie, good morning. >> reporter: good morning, ann. this is the fifth week of hearings. the judge has heard a litany of questionable tabloid tactics, including illegal phone hacking, as well as rummaging through celebrities' garbage and high-speed paparazzi chases. it's been an opportunity to hold reporters and their bosses to account. piers morgan's feet being held to the fire. before taking over for cnn's larry king or judging contestants on "america's got talent," piers morgan was a newspaper man, an editor of two of london's biggest tabloids "the daily mirror" and rupert murdoch's nowty funk "news of the world".
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>> i would say they're aware of 5% of what journalists are up to. >> reporter: morgan testified via a video link from los angeles. he denied any knowledge of illegal phone hacking. >> have you listened to recordings of what you knew to be illegally obtained voice mail messages? >> i do not believe so, no. >> well, you either did or you didn't. it isn't a question of belief. >> reporter: today a former business reporter for "the daily mirror" who went to jail for insider trading says hacking regularly took place while morgan was editor. >> i would say that it was very unlikely that he didn't know that it was going on, because as i've said, he was -- there wasn't very much he didn't know about. >> reporter: during his testimony, morgan was repeatedly asked how he heard a phone message paul mccartney left for his then wife heather mills as their marriage was falling apart. >> well, i can't discuss where i was played that tape or who played it, because to do so would be to compromise a source. >> reporter: there were moments
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when the cnn anchor acknowledged he was aware of some unsavory if not illegal tactics. elton john's bank statements were rum annualmaged from the t a reporter. >> did i think it was illegal, no. did i think it was on the cusp of unethical, yes. >> reporter: and there was the photo of princess diana made to look as if she was kissing doty fayad in 1997. the man who made his start in newspapers defended them and criticized the judge and his hearings. >> i think there has to be a better balance here, because a lot of very good things the newspapers were doing in those periods, and continue to do, are not being highlighted at all. >> reporter: these hearings and ongoing criminal investigation are not about the good that newspapers do. it's about reining in an industry a lot of people feel
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has been operating above the law. ann? >> all right. stephanie gosk, thank you for your reporting on this story. >> let's get the rest of the morning's top stories from natalie morales over at the news desk. good morning, natalie. >> good morning, carl and ann and everyone. federal safety officials are releasing new rules today designed to protect the flying public. they prevent airlines from scheduling pilots to work when they don't have enough rest. the action was spurred by the deadly 2009 crash of a regional jet near buffalo, new york that claimed 50 lives. it was blamed on errors by two exhausted pilots. federal crash experts are examining the wreckage of a small plane that smashed into a new jersey highway tuesday, killing all five people aboard. the victims included two investment bankers, along with one of their families and a pet dog. officials say the pilot was warned of icing conditions, although the actual cause is still under investigation. japan's government said today the clean-up and decommissioning of a wrecked nuclear plant will take 30 to 40
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years. the fukushima plant, 150 miles from tokyo, was destroyed in march when a huge earthquake and tsunami knocked out its cooling systems, triggering radiation leaks and mass evacuations. today's report does not put a figure on the clean-up cost, but an earlier estimate was $15 billion. north korea's military has reportedly pledged its allegiance to the 28-year-old son of long-time dictator kim jong-il, who died suddenly saturday. younger kim was shown last night on state television, greeting mourners and senior government officials. a washington state man who planted a bomb along the route of a martin luther king day parade was sentenced tuesday to the maximum 32 years in prison. officials say the bomb which was discovered before it could go off was packed with shrapnel coated in rat poison. the fda has approved human testing of a new aids vaccine developed by researchers in canada. three previous human trials of other vaccines failed, but this
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one uses a different scientific approach. and fedex says it was shocked to see this youtube video -- by the way, now more than 1 million hits on it -- showing one of its couriers delivering a package by tossing it over the fence. the box contained a flat screen computer monitor, which the youtube poster said was broken and had to be returned. fedex is, of course, looking into it. hopefully that was not something going to you. 7:17 right now. let's turn it back over to ann, carl and maria. >> wow. >> i guess he was fed up. a lot of packages to deliver. >> but still, come on. >> christmas coming. >> all i know is, i am definitely tipping the mailman. >> yeah. definitely a good idea. >> be nice to them. by the way, al is feeling under the weather this morning so we get to have you this morning, maria larosa filling in. what's going on with the weather? >> a lot going on. not snow in the east, but, boy, we have a mess of rain, low clouds, enough to slow down travel if that's your plan for
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today. we have showers and thunderstorms from the southeast, pockets of heavy rain to the ohio valley pushing into the northeast. that will be steady rain as we get into d.c. and new york later today. we already have very low visibility in chicago, so look out for fog there, and slow down through st. louis, atlanta, even washington, much of the northeast. looking at sunshine through the mid section, burr fo but fog in >> good morning. today feels more like spring than the end of fall. very mild temperatures. 59th for the hike in baltimore. that's a look at the weather. carl, over to you. >> maria, thanks. the new steven spielberg
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movie, "the adventures of tin tin" opens today. never heard of tin tin? he's a hugely popular comic book character overseas. the question is, can he make it in america? here's nbc's keith miller. >> thanks, i'm tin tin, by the way. >> reporter: he's no captain america. tin tin is a comic book hero without muscle. no super powers, with a dog called snowy as a sidekick. yet he is loved by millions around the world. just about everywhere, but the u.s. >> tintin? >> tintin? >> reporter: tintin, the boy reporter, who travels the world, solving mysteries, has been around for 80 years. and has sold more than 250 million books. >> russian, welch. >> reporter: to solve the mystery of his popularity, you must travel to where he was created, brussels. tintin and snowy are everywhere. you'll find them painted on
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buildings, on the tops of buildings. they peer from walls in cafes and bars. even in hotel rooms. there is a tintin boutique. and a spectacular museum dedicated to tintin and his creator known as erje. he created a character in the abstract. two buttons for eyes. >> any reader, boy, girl, can become tintin. >> reporter: he drew inspiration from places like brussels, like its famous flea market, where in the movie, tintin finds the model ship which triggers his adventure. spielberg is gaveling he can sell tintin to an america that doesn't really know him. >> tintin almost feels squeaky clean, because everybody around him is such a character. i have to tell you, i identify with tintin. >> reporter: it's a roll of the dice, especially since the $130 million movie is filmed with motion capture that audiences
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are known to resist. >> it's a huge test. the movie delivers, i think that afterward people become fanatics of tintin here too. >> reporter: tintin is coming to america. the question is, will americans come to see tintin? >> come on! >> reporter: and snowy, of course. for "today," keith miller, nbc news, brussels. coming up, the florida doctor who joran van der sloot calls his guardian angel. why is she so committed to helping the accused murderer? we'll hear from her. but first, this is "today" on nbc.
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coming up, where you'll find the best discounts to complete your last-minute holiday shopping. and one family's over-the-top christmas card tradition that has taken on a life of its own. i can't figure out what to get for my husband.
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easy. name some things that aren't on your list. jumper cables, camo anything, a power drill -- ooh! [ male announcer ] the only place to go for every guy on your christmas list with great deals throughout the store. walmart.
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so i used my citi thank you card to pick up some accessories. a new belt. some nylons. and what girl wouldn't need new shoes? we talked about getting a diamond. but with all the thank you points i've been earning... ♪ ...i flew us to the rock i really had in mind.
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♪ [ male announcer ] the citi thank you card. earn points you can use for travel on any airline, with no blackout dates. >> this is wbal-tv 11 news today in baltimore. >> good morning. i am lisa robinson. we know the identity of the man shot outside nordstrom at towsontown center monday night. police identified the victim as a 19-year-old rodney pridget. investigators are still reviewing video but they believes pridget was the intended target. the suspect and victim were inside the mall before the incident. they will notomment on a
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possible altercation. here is kim dacey and traffic pulse 11. >> we have still got just one a problem spot out there. that spot is a crash in essex. that is really the only thing you have to watch out for. very short delay at 35 miles per hour on route 40. other than that, we are looking pretty nice. outer loop in northeast corner is checking in at 11 minutes. looking at 9 minutes on 95 southbound between harbor tunnel and 95 on the south side. this is the northwest corner of the beltway at old court road. you will have a very short delay. 95 in the area of fort mchenry told plaza, coming towards us and looking good. that is the latest on traffic pulse 11. ava, over to you. >> temperatures are already where they should be in the
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afternoon. mid-forties is where we are at at b.w.i. marshall. 52 in ocean city. showers moving in down along the eastern shore. these showers become more likely across the entire state as we head into the day. 59 for the high in baltimore. 62 for the high in ocean city. we eventually cooled down and it will take a couple of days. 58, rain possible thursday night into friday.
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♪ ♪ i heard santa on the radio 7:30 now on this wednesday morning, the 21st day of december, 2011. not too nice this morning weather-wise in the northeast with rain heading our way. but that has not dampeden the spirit of all these folks on rockefeller plaza joining us this morning. mean time, inside studio 1-a i'm ann curry with carl quintanilla, it's been really nice having you. >> thank you. >> we're going to talk about the remarkable recovery of lauren scruggs. >> yeah, the model who accidentally walked into a plane's propeller. she is slowly getting back to doing the things she loves. we'll have her story. >> that's some good news. and also ahead, if you still
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like me have not finished your holiday shopping, the final dash to christmas is on. and retailers are pulling out all of the stops to win your last-minute business. so guess what? they're going to give you some good deals. we're going to tell you where you can find them, coming up. >> 77% of americans are not done yet. so you're not alone. >> oh, good. meanwhile, kids may wait all year for santa to return, but it's the arrival of one minnesota family's christmas card their friends clamber for. these people really take it to the extreme. wait until we show you what we they came up with this year. and a very special holiday performance from the legendary tony bennett. an unlikely source of help for accused murderer joran van der sloot as he prepares to go on trial for the death of a young woman in peru. michelle kosinski is here to explain. >> reporter: just days in a letter, he referred to her as his guardian angel. not his mother who has yet to
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visit him in jail, but a doctor in florida who says she is not in love with him, she just wants to help him, as she puts it, evolve. >> my guardian angel, mary. i've got a tear in my eye as i write this letter. and he goes on to say, i love you, joran. >> reporter: yes, joran van der sloot. florida radiologist mary hamer sent him care packages, visited him three times in jail in peru. >> it was wonderful. we were nervous. >> reporter: most recently, this month. she has paid his legal bills. her nickname for him, buddha for what she calls his new focus on philosophy. >> the more i know joran, the more i see there's a beautiful person there. >> reporter: hamer, 55 and divorced, insists it is not romantic. she considers herself his spiritual guide, and advocate. >> he's hurting. he's struggling. he's trying to improve.
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>> you're not worried that this guy is going to completely take advantage of your kindness? >> no. no, no, i'm not. even if he did, again, i'm an unconditional person. >> reporter: for a year-and-a-half, van der sloot has sat in jail, accused of beating and suffocating stephany flores after they played poker and the five-year anniversary of natalie holloway's disappearance in aruba. video shows him going into the hotel room, but only he left. her body was found inside. he later confessed. friends said he was tricked into doing so. >> you think he's innocent. >> i know he's innocent. >> reporter: but hamer says while they talk about everything from justin bieber and van der sloot's love for kiss co, martin luther king and gandy, they never discuss his case. >> you've never been curious to say, joran, what happened with natalie holloway? >> no. no, it's not my role. >> reporter: to date, she says she has spent at least $20,000
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on him. recorded a cd of her song to raise money ♪ i will rescue you >> reporter: ann hamer says she would move to peru. she may be his sole supporter. the 24-year-old once evaluated as antisocial and indifferent to others. her goal, to help joran van der sloot to move forward. >> it's not pity that got me involved, it's compassion. it's love for someone. >> if he did beat this young woman to death, would that change your opinion of him as a person? >> i love him unconditionally. >> and she says it's not just joran van der sloot. that she likes difficult causes of all kinds and plans to be there when his trial starts in peru early next month. she says the ultimate goal is to help him make peace with both the flores and holloway family. we did not hear back from van der sloot's attorneys for comments on this guardian angel.
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carl? >> nbc's michelle kosinski, thanks now here's ann. >> thanks. now, what just may be a miracle, a young texas model who walked directly into a small plane spinning propeller is recovering faster than anyone expected. nbc's janet shamlian is here. good morning. >> ann good morning. it's only been two weeks since the awful accident, badly mutilated lauren scruggs. she is showing everyone around her that this determined young woman is going to fight back. for lauren scruggs, the road to recovery has been miracle after miracle. according to her parents, writing on the blog where they have updating lauren's condition. >> i am lauren scruggs with lo-lo mag. >> reporter: and there is probably no better indication than her renewed passion for fashion. she is now picking out her own clothes, dressing herself and exercising to stay in shape. >> lauren is a little fighter. i mean, she -- you guys don't
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know her, but her personality, she loved to work out, she was healthy before, so the physical therapist would say do ten of these, raise your hand ten times and she does twelve. or take 10 steps and she takes 30. >> reporter: she has been moved from intensive care to rehab and requesting her favorite foods, sweet potatoes, seafood, brussel sprouts and chocolate cake. significant developments considering her critical injuries. her left hand was severed, a skull fracture, a brain injury. and doctors last week had to remove her left eye. she will soon be fitted with a prosthetic. >> she really shouldn't be alive. we feel blessed with that and although she has some challenges ahead and we do too, we're lucky to have her. we really are. >> cheryl and jeff scruggs know they could have easily lost her the night she unknowingly walked into the propeller of a small plane after just having gotten out of it after dark. deeply religious, the scruggs on their blog say lauren credits
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jesus for what she has accomplished so far. and they write, what so many have already discovered. her spirit is amazing. >> on tuesday, lauren opened what's described as a large pile of mail from well-wishers. that is the second batch she has received within a week. and her mom says just last night she climbed out of her bed at the rehab center to watch a little bit of television, signs her family sees as very encouraging. >> they must be so reassured. thank you very much this morning. and now let's go for a check of the weather and maria larosa in for al. >> a lot of people on the plaza this morning. are you guys okay with no snow? >> yes. >> not the case, though, across the west. take a look at what we'll be watching. major snowstorm coming down out of canada. doesn't look like a whole lot on the radar right now, but we have all of the watches and warnings posted. in fact, denver just upgraded to a winter storm warning. albuquerque, once again, you find yourself in had a winter storm watch.
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denver, as much as 6 to 9 inches of snowfall, mainly today through the next 24 to 36 hours. eventually, though, we'll see this as a rain-maker across the east. that's what we have today for sure, more rain from the gulf coast all the way into the northeast. that's a look at the weather >> good morning. waking up to cloudy skies and mild temperatures. a better chance for rain later today. you can always get the latest forecast 24/7 at the weather channel or weather.com. >> all right, maria, thank you so much. you look so pretty in that coat with the sparkly lights behind you. coming up, from movies to reality tv, the rule-breakers
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had changed and challenged the world of entertainment the in 2011. and coming up next, attention all shoppers. we'll tell you where you can go to find discounts for your last-minute holiday gifts right after this. urism season in year. all because so many people came to louisiana... they came to see us in florida... make that alabama... make that mississippi. the best part of the gulf is wherever you choose... and now is a great time to discover it. this year millions of people did. we set all kinds of records. next year we're out to do even better. so come on down to louisiana... florida... alabama... mississippi. we can't wait to see you. brought to you by bp and all of us who call the gulf home.
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dad. did you know it's 22 days, 11 hours and 2 minutes to christmas? [ mumbling ] ...enny days, 8 hours, 9 minutes... 18 days, 17 hours... [ mom ] let's go, young lady. [ female announcer ] they're for building excitement for christmas. 12 days, 18 hours... come on. it's no days! [ female announcer ] the hallmark countdown to christmas ornament. 5 hours and 59 minutes and 41... 40...39... 38...37...36... ♪ it rides in limos. it has a crew. it gets invited to parties with paparazzi. it hangs out poolside. it has millions of drooling fans. it knows the recipe for success.
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♪ back at 7:42. this morning on "today's consumer," the final countdown to christmas. four more shopping days to go. retailers are doing everything they can to get your last-minute business. today's financial editor, jean chatzky is here to walk us through the deal. >> good morning. >> four days left. and looking at retail sales, the trends look pretty good. >> yeah, it has been a good year for the retailers. they're expecting overall sales at this point to be up 3.8%, going into the season, they only expected 2.8%. so they have been positively surprised and online sales, of course, have been a huge high point. they're up about 15% from last year. >> and then you look at things like jewelry, which people tend to buy later in the season, also on sort of an upward trajectory,
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too. >> that's right. we're hearing that from the analyst community and from the retailers themselves that jewelry and other high-priced items are actually moving. big story in the "wall street journal" today about cars and what a great time it is to buy a luxury car. >> interesting. returns, though. people returning things to the store. we're seeing that earlier than we normally do in the season. >> we are. >> what does that mean? >> i think a couple of things. i think people made some big impulse purchases. the sales came in so strongly. people bought things, they're now returning them, because they have changed their mind. but we have also seen some sales come on later, so i think we're seeing a number of people saying, hey, if i return this, and rebought it, i could actually get a better deal. >> because of the discounts that happen later in the season. 77% of people still waiting to finish their shopping, so are the deals going to get better as we go into the final innings? >> depends what you're looking for. we're seeing some awesome apparel deals. 30% off the entire store at places like j crew. 40 and 50% at places like ann taylor and the gap. and it's so warm outside that
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winter merchandise, coats, hats, scarves, gloves, are not selling. they're being deeply discounted. >> and then electronics. of the price points on flat panel televisions have come down so much they can't even make back on volume, right? >> right. we're seeing margins being shrunk at apparel retailers, as well. >> how about extended hours? again, a lot of the stores learned that lesson on thanksgiving. so controversial, opening on thanksgiving day, but now they're just staying open through christmas eve. so toys r us is open now 24/7 through christmas eve. also, macy's doing the same thing. and then sears, target and kohls. they are staying open until midnight. >> for that 3:00 a.m. run for the toy that you might need. >> i am so sleeping. >> is this all good news for the economy at large, or is this just about christmas, just about the holidays? >> i think we're starting to see good news for the economy at large. people feeling a little bit better, coming back and spending a little bit of money. >> i think people have been through so much already that this is a time to treat
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themselves in ways they feel they might deserve. >> absolutely. a little bit of pent-up demand there, people held back for such a long time that now they're coming in and taking advantage of these deals. numbers in other areas, as well. housing yesterday, i think is looking good. >> encouraging. small sign but encouraging. jean chatzky, thank you so much. up next, a family whose annual holiday card tradition has -- let's just say gotten a bit out of control through the years. right after this.
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more people do that, security would be like -- there's no charge for the bag. thanks. i know a quiet little place where we can get some work done. there's a three-prong plug. i have club passes. [ male announcer ] now there's a mileage card that offers special perks on united, like a free checked bag, united club passes, and priority boarding. thanks. ♪ okay. what's your secret? ♪ [ male announcer ] the new united mileageplus explorer card. get it and you're in. of course, most of us love to give and receive christmas cards, and as nbc's kevin tibble now explains, one minnesota family takes their annual tradition to the extreme. >> reporter: perched as always this time of year by her sewing machine, sue johnson prepares the next big secret. how do you come up with the ideas each year? >> sometimes they come to me in dreams. or my husband refers to them as nightmares. >> reporter: as nightmares.
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for nearly two decades, sue's hand-made the costumes and gentleman coaled her family into posing for christmas cards that take elaborate to the extreme. there was the choir year, the elf year, the toy soldier year. friends now clamber for them. even friends of friends want to see what she has come up with. and no one knows before the white envelope drops into the mailbox. >> you know, we complain, but the reality is, when we get together to do it, we all really have a good time doing it together as a family. ♪ >> reporter: but wait, there's more. the christmas bulb year. the poinsettia year, the gingerbread year. >> it kind of -- it is what it is. there's not really any getting out of it. you're in this family, you're in the christmas card. >> our family is -- it maintainses a closeness, you know? it's a wonderful tradition. ♪ you better watch out >> reporter: and now sue boasts of two son-in-laws, andy, who
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apparently can be bribed. >> as long as i get the cookies with a hershey kiss on them and a couple of cold beers, i'll dress up however you want. >> reporter: and newcomer mike, who soon, as you will soon find out has plans. >> i do feel very, very special. >> reporter: and voila, a sneak preview of this year's masterpiece. sue and rob johnson as mrs. claus and santa and all of the kids as reindeer. mike, the new bee, of course, is rudolph. >> okay, are you ready? >> i was never ready for this. >> at least you didn't have to wear makeup. >> well, this is a close second. >> reporter: are you already thinking about next year? >> oh, yes. >> reporter: what are you going to be? you can whisper it. >> no, can't tell you. >> reporter: such a welcoming family, even allowing a complete stranger to put on the hooves. an interloper, an antler loper. where in the world is matt lauer
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while i'm doing this? >> merry christmas! >> reporter: and merry christmas to you. for "today," kevin tibbles, nbc news, eagan, minnesota. >> kevin, just may have crossed a line when it came to reporter involvement. >> never looked better. i tell you that. isn't that nice, though, to have a tradition like that? >> it is. although i can empathize with the man who married into the family. you probably should warn people. >> our twins are 2. so with 100 pictures, one good shot, we're grateful. >> yeah, so maybe a mask would be good. mean time, coming up, the people who have left the biggest mark in entertainment in 2011. >> but first, a look back at some of the most striking images of the year.
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not quite knowing what the next phase was going to be, you know, because you been, you know, this is what you had been doing. you know, working, working, working, working, working, working. and now you're talking about, well you know, i won't be, and i get the chance to spend more time with my wife and my kids. it's my world. that's my world. ♪ when sugar plums appear, temptation's all around. donuts, cakes and pies, they've got a gift for me, i wish that i could take it back, but there is no receipt.
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>> this is wbal-tv 11 news today in baltimore. >> good morning. i am mindy basara. here is kim dacey and traffic pulse 11. >> one a problem spot attacking on southbound 95 at the fort mchenry tunnel. right lane is blocked in the left tube with the disabled vehicle. delays in the area possibly because of that that. 895 to the beltway on the south side. 13 minutes on the outer loop west side, not looking at there. looking good on the topside it
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outer loop. bit of a delay on the west side of the beltway. 35 mi. per hour in baltimore national by. it looks like this has cleared up a little bit in the last few minutes. you can see tapping the brakes from there to frederick road. topside is wide open. no problems at all. ava, over to you. >> a few showers on hd doppler more. heading their way towards carroll county. this is the trend as we go through the day. the trend is very mild temperatures. currently 45 at b.w.i. marshall. 50 in gaithersburg. 52 in cambridge. temperatures will be rising as we head into the afternoon. 60 for the eastern shore. 63 in southern maryland. showers are likely, especially at the midday point. dry conditions early tomorrow.
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more rain returning thursday night into friday. temperatures dropping down. back to the 40's this weekend.
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8:00 now on this wednesday morning. it's the 21st day of december, 2011. and we have a spirited crowd outside here at rockefeller plaza. and it is a balmy 50 degrees. not so bad this morning. good morning, everybody. checking out the tree, waving hello to their loved ones back home. we're so glad they came to visit with us this morning. i'm ann curry along with carl quintanilla filling in for matt this morning. so nice to have you here this week. and coming up, hollywood's hit-makers, headline-makers. "the hollywood reporter" is out with people who helped change the face in 2011. and someone familiar to all of
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us is here from that list. that's coming up in just a moment. >> that's right. and some much-needed help if you're busy planning a holiday meal. martha stewart will share her secrets for pulling off what they're calling the ultimate christmas dinner. >> all right. also, we have a legend in the house. some of us around here call him mr. b. he is tony bennett, and he is basically going to be helping us -- that's right. yay is right! [ cheers and applause ] he's going to be singing a holiday classic here in our studio. and we love it when he is here. in the meantime, let's get a check of the top stories from natalie at the news desk. >> good morning, everyone. the clock is ticking on capitol hill where a house vote tuesday scuttled a deal for a payroll tax cut and jobless benefits. if the house and senate can't agree on how long to extend the tax cuts, 160 million americans could see their take-home pay shrink with the start of the new year. five polish soldiers serving with nato forces in afghanistan
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were killed today by a roadside bomb. in a separate development, eight american soldiers have been charged with the death of 19-year-old private danny chen, who was fatally shot in afghanistan in october. the military's investigation found that chen had been the target of ethnic slurs and physical harassment. for the first time ever, the u.s. government is asking scientific journal not to publish details of certain biomedical experiments. scientists conducted experiments in the u.s. and the netherlands and created a highly transcript miserable and deadly form of the bird flu virus to test how it would evolve. the government advisory board fears if published, details could be used by terrorists to create deadly viruss and touch off epidemics. a snowstorm blamed for at least six deaths is moving out of the great plains. many roads are still closed and stranded motorists still being rescued. the storm dumped as much as 15 inches of snow in parts of five states. snow is now falling on the
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rockies with winter storm watches from montana south to new mexico. federal investigators are resuming their search in the wreckage of a plane crash that killed five people in northern new jersey tuesday. three family members and a dog were being carried to georgia when it crashed on a busy highway. no one on the ground was hurt. air traffic controllers had warned the pilot about icing conditions, though the cause of the cra has not yet been determined. johnny carson's boyhood home in nebraska has major structural damage. the house was hit tuesday by a man who lost control of his car. he is in serious condition. four people inside the house, including two children, were not injured. and now for a look at what is trending today, our quick round-up of what has you talking online. trending on google are search searches for anything having to do with hanukkah. the hanukkah me nora was hit last night that kicked off the jewish holiday known as the
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festival of lights. and pictures of an italian member of the european parliament cradling her baby daughter at work. fittingly, the parliament was debating proposal to improve women's employment rights. and barney frank's casual outfit for a speech on monday on the house floor is attracting some attention on yahoo. quite a lot of attention. massachusetts congressman wore a t-shirt that he was able to apparently pull over his bandaged hand after the surgery. offhand surgery, apparently. it's now 8:04. let's go back outside to ann and carl. >> thanks, natalie. by the way, amelia is turning 11 and mitchell is turning 18 today. happy birthday to them. we have got maria with the weather. >> good morning, ann. we have a couple honeymooners over here. where are you from? >> texas. >> welcome. and you guys got married on saturday, so so far, so good? >> awesome. >> all right. the weather goes, let's head to alabama. our pick city is huntsville,
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showers and thunderstorms. 64 degrees. and we have showers and thunderstorms expected across the southeast. panhandle of florida, we'll have to watch carefully. but rain spreading up into the northeast, fog in places like chicago could really slow your travel down, and then our developing winter storm through the rockies, we could see several areas picking up more than a foot. denver, on the area of 6 to 9 inches. >> good morning. today feels more like spring than the end of fall. very mild temperatures. 59th for the hike in baltimore. ann, i'll send it back over to you. >> all right. and is by the way, maria, we've got the cutest elves over here.
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and look at that, they're cool as well. we'll get to your presents in a little bit. look at you. coming up next, hollywood's rule-breakers. the movers and shakers in the entertainment world of 2011. coming up right after this. for a big game, or watching from the sidelines... [ male announcer ] start with a breakfast at subway that can't be beat. like the protein-powerhouse steak, bacon, egg & cheese. mwah!! [ male announcer ] tackle a fresh toasted subway steak melt today. rush in and get your flavor on. subway. where winners eat. [ male announcer ] only subway has a deal this flat-out delicious -- the $3 flatbread breakfast combo. a toasty flatbread breakfast sandwich and a 16-ounce cup of seattle's best coffee or 21-ounce fountain drink. all for only $3.
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back now at 8:09 with a new list of people who have had the biggest impact on entertainment this year. and it includes one of our own. take a look. ♪
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the year-end issue of "the hollywood reporter" named them as the people who changed and challenged the world of entertainment in 2011. they are the rule-breakers. >> we really are trying to celebrate and honor those people who were able to buck convention this year, kind of go against the grain and take a risk. and the people in this portfolio have really succeeded in that. >> reporter: from the reining queens of reality tv -- >> i want to interview you about what it's like to work as a maid -- >> reporter: to "the help," this year's cinderella story of the big screen. they were the talk of hollywood. does this have mass appeal to the big screen? and elevating that discussion, our own matt lauer, who is also featured in the magazine as one of the interviewers. >> matt lauer continues to deliver these interviews that people are really dying for. whether it's brad pitt or dick cheney, he's the smooth interviewer. >> that he is. and matt bellamy is the news
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director for "the hollywood reporter." good morning to you. >> good morning. >> the first time they have done a year-end like this, and chose rule-breakers as a theme. was it an especially rebellious year in hollywood? >> i think so. we wanted to take a look at people who took some risks this year. some people out of nowhere, some people established but did something new and fresh this year. >> so there are four different covers. let's start with ashton kutcher and chuck lorre, obviously about "two and a half men." but is the real story about charlie sheen or not? >> the saga behind "two and a half men" was really the story of the year. and charlie sheen did a lot of talk about winning. but when you look at the numbers, it's really "two and a half men" and ashton kutcher who ended up winning the year. without charlie sheen, that show's ratings are up 20%. >> got the country's attention in ways few sitcoms ever do. speaking of sitcoms, a new darling, better movies for a long time, yet people are talking about her like a
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break-out star. >> yeah, zoe had a break-out year, sort of took a risk doing a half-hour sitcom on fox. and the ratings for it were excellent, and she got great reviews and she sort of reinvigorated herself with this move. >> a lot of talk about "the descendents" and specifically george clooney who you call the quadruple threat. what do you mean by that? >> if you look at george clooney's year, everyone knows he's a great actor but when the golden globe nominations came out ago, he was nominated for actor, director. and it's an amazing year for george clooney. >> he's also handsome. >> people do like him. >> "the help." cinderella story of the year? >> yeah, "the help" has an interesting back story. the film maker behind the film is actually from mississippi and friend of the author of "the help's" book. he got the film rights very
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early. and in hollywood, that never happens where an untested film maker gets to make the movie based on a book that he options. this way it happened, and the film was a huge hit and now it's being talked about for the osca oscars. >> do you think it stands a good chance? >> i think right now there's a couple movies in the mix, but "the help" is a front runner. >> "bridesmaids" huge hit, known for being comically edgy. why was that film a rule-breaker? >> the rule in hollywood tends to be that female-driven comedies don't do well at the box office. for whatever reason, that was the conventional wisdom. "bridesmaids" completely shattered that wisdom. it grossed 28 8 million, made a star out of kristen wiig and melissa mccarthy. >> the new film by steven dahldry, not screened widely, which has a lot of people whispering. what's the back story? >> yeah, they sort of held the film towards the end of the year, which in oscar circles,
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serious movie circles, doesn't typically happen. but there is a lot of buzz. i mean, when you have two oscar winners and tom hanks and sandra bullock, and this is sandra bullock's first film since "the blind side." which won her the oscar. >> you have actually seen the film? >> yes. it's very earnest and will effect people who have a close connection to 9/11 very differently than the general audience, but i think it's a very earnest film. >> finally, the kardashians which some people might have thought after the divorce debacle interest in the family would end. hasn't happened. >> no, if you look at the franchise after the 72-day marriage debacle, was a record number of ratings for the franchise. people said kim is over, fans are not going to come back, they're really upset with her. not true. >> i don't think we have heard the last. >> probably not. >> matt bell amy, thank you very much. >> thank you. >> the year-end issue is on
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stands now. up next, a christmas surprise for kids at one very deserving school. but first, these messages. ♪ love your pandora bracelet. oh, thanks. he went to jared. the ballet slippers? i used to dance. suitcase? anniversary trip. hearts? it's called the red hot love bead... ♪ oh. ...i've said too much. [ female announcer ] celebrate life's unforgettable moments with a fabulous selection of pandora charms and bracelets at jared. telling her life's story with just a turn of the wrist. soccer ball? soccer mom. [ female announcer ] that's why he went to jared, the galleria of jewelry. [ female announcer ] that's why he went to jared, what mak [ female announcer ] that's why he went to jared, es a what hershey's bar pure? pure togetherness. pure friendship.
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for as little as $4 a month with the lipitor co-pay card. terms and conditions apply. learn more at lipitorforyou.com. ♪ back now at 8:18. this morning on our special series, "getting to the heart of christmas," a new program for juvenile offenders in st. louis. it's all about giving another chance to children who run out of chances. nbc's "today's" national correspondent amy robach is joining us now with more. hey, amy, good morning. >> ann, good morning to you. we spent some time with a remarkable juvenile court judge who rules not with a heavy hand, but a heavy heart. and he may be giving the greatest holiday present of all. hope. >> when the kids are admitting stuff to me and telling me stuff and won't look at me, i don't believe them. >> reporter: from the school of hard knocks, these teens have a wealth of knowledge. >> you better handle your business. otherwise i'll handle it. >> reporter: most from broken homes, most expelled from
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school, all seemingly without a place in life. >> you know, i was selling drugs, smoking drugs. i really didn't think about my future at all. >> reporter: but judge jimmy edwards of the juvenile court of st. louis was thinking about their future. >> how do you want these children back in the community? do you want them back a child that understands what it means to be decent and respectful? or do you want them back as a men as to our community? it makes sense to educate them. >> reporter: however, there was no school that wanted them. edwards built his own. judge, why did you think you could open a school? >> because every day i look into the eyes of 11-year-olds, 12 and 13-year-olds, and they have no hope. and they ask me, why should i care what happens to my life when nobody cares about me? >> reporter: the innovative concept academy is the nation's first school for juvenile offenders run by a court system.
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what does this environment provide that they haven't received anywhere else in their lives? >> well, first, it provides structure. children want structure. they might suggest that they don't. but they want expectations set. >> reporter: and the judge sets hes expectations high. the teens are required to stay until they earn their geds and gain employment. >> she will always have a ged. but i have to get in there and be able to say to her that you can do things differently. >> reporter: and this school does things very differently. beyond the regular academics, the children can get medical and psychological attention. three meals a day, even lessons in chess. >> i tell the kids that we all are poor. and that doesn't matter. but we can be better. we can be good citizens, we can be productive in our own lives. ♪ >> reporter: and the concept is
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working. in st. louis, the rate of recidivism for juvenile offenders is 27%. at the innovative concept academy, it's only 11%. >> i feel kind of set. i feel like i'm doing right in my life, the way i'm supposed to do it. >> if i want to have a successful future, it's bigger and better things. >> reporter: what do you think most americans don't understand about disadvantaged youth? >> they want to be successful, as well. but they don't understand, it takes a whole lot of money to correct that. >> reporter: but it does take a lot of generosity. most of what you see at the innovative conceptcademy is funded by private donations, and we had a surprise donation of our own. we're going to let you in on the big secret. walmart came to us a few weeks ago, and asked us to find a very deserving group of people who were doing something special, who might need a little extra help during this holiday season. and guess what?
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>> what? >> reporter: we picked you! [ cheers and applause ] >> reporter: we know you all have an ongoing list of needed dough nayses. and we saw that list, walmart saw that list. and not only did they fill part of your list, you know what? they filled your entire list. [ cheers and applause ] >> reporter: and as walmart loaded the gym with all of the school donations, we had yet another surprise in store for the students themselves. a gift certificate for a hot christmas dinner for each student and a brand-new winter coat. >> we are grateful. we are so grateful. i am just overwhelmed. i have never, ever lost for words. today i am. here we do it one child at a time. if we save one, i'm hopeful. if we save them all, it's a
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blessing. >> kind of chokes you up watching that. some of the donations included enough food for a lunch for an entire year, a new gym, and 18 new computers. but judge edwards says the true gift for these students is letting them know, ann, that somebody cares for them. >> what a wonderful story. great job, amy. and judge edwards' idea hopefully will move to other people, because it obviously is shown signs of working. has anyone graduated yet? >> yes. that's the exciting part. the innovative concept academy has been open since spring of 2009 and last summer they had their first graduation ceremony. 18 students earned their high school diploma or ged. two have gone to college. that's remarkable, given the road they were headed on. >> that's remarkable. and now here is carl. thanks, now let's head down to our nation's capital and say hello to mr. willard scott. hey, willard. >> what a great time of the year, the holiday spirit is
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mighty near. let's check our birthday buddies from smuckers. don't forget their new jams out now, too. orchard's finest. unbelievable. ed ingenthron from overland park, kansas, 100 years old today. poker player. i used to play poker. loves to travel around the world. played poker and drank. that's what he did. my father. and we have marjorie beardslee from grand rapids, michigan. loves to paint and also write in her book. she has a little journal, she keeps everything in it. believes in the good lord. and here is anna. anna orr anna or what? from eagle grove, iowa. 104 years old today, lives
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independently and walks two miles every day. how about that? i can barely get out of a chair. earl williams, handsome devil, la canada-flintridge, california. hundred years old and loves to play golf, and he's great on politics. i mean, he keeps up. we ought to keep an eye on him. also, the stock market. how about that? remember the stock market? it will be back. we have mildred collins, spelled like the singer. and she is from brownsburg, indiana, 101 years old today. and she is fabulous at baking butterscotch cookies. i love butterscotch cookies. and we have finally bernice busse from madison, wisconsin. what a great town. i fell in love in madison. 100 -- if you know what cows are, you'll get a kick out of that one. anyway, loves to play bridge, and also promote literacy among little children. that's it. that's all. and now back to new york.
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>> willard, thanks. just ahead, martha stewart's ultimate christmas dinner plans and a live performance from the one and only tony bennett after your local news. >> live, local, latebreaking. this is wbal-tv 11 news today in baltimore. >> good morning. i am mindy basara. let's check on the morning commute with the kim dacey. >> we have got a bad situation. 95, saw part of the city, northbound 95 approaching washington boulevard. we have a crash approaching two right lanes. jammed traffic, 17 miles per hour. definitely want to watch out for that bit you can see the delays reflected in the drive times. lead to some extra time if that is on your route. consider an alternate route.
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this is the west side of baltimore national bank. you can see is looking good there. there were delays earlier but they have eased. 95 north caton avenue, just crawling from before the beltway to past washington boulevard. consider an alternate route. ava, over to you. >> no weather-related issues around baltimore right now. farther into baltimore county, light sprinkles. most of the rain is down along the eastern shore. something to watch out for bid showers becoming likely as we go throughout the day. temperatures are very warm. 59 for the high in baltimore. 62 for ocean city. rain is taper off. at dry start to tomorrow, first day of winter. temperature's very warm.
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another round of rain thursday night into friday morning. our latest christmas storm stays south. >> another update at 8:55.
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♪ 8:30 now on this wednesday morning, december 21st, 2011. and that is -- you're looking at two members of the new york reindeer happy team, along with golden globe nominee kenneth grandoff collecting gifts on this final day of our holiday toy drive. it's been a tremendous success. we collected $1 million worth of
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gifts, helping 4 million children across our nation. so we want to say a very big thank you to all of the generous viewers and the companies who contributed to this great cause, especially in these times, carl. >> yeah, it's important. imagine all the kids who otherwise wouldn't have that kind of toy. >> and a great shoutout to our team here at nbc who helped organize the toy drive. they work year-round to keep it going. >> great work. also we want to mention that coming up we have martha stewart in the house, helping us prepare our delicious holiday meal and tripg trying to keep it manageable, as well. >> and then when it comes to the holidays, does it get any better than hearing frthe classics fro our legendary tony bennett? he is blessing us with his presence once again, with i a special performance live. first let's say hello to our
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four-time oscar nominee, just picked up a golden nomination for "my week with marylin." it's not every day when you get a nomination for playing lawrence olivia. how was your state of mind? >> it was like christmas morning and to be recognized by people who know about hollywood actors and icons, playing an actor very important. he was such an inspiration to all of us. so to be able to sort of celebrate his talent in the movie, and have fun with it, as well. because it's a funny movie, as well. >> i've seen it. fantastic. michelle williams who also is nominated, amazing as marilyn monroe. what is it like working with her? >> she was absolutely wonderful. she is amazing at capturing how she walked, kind of a shimmy or float. very, very sexy. >> singing and dancing. >> does all of that. yeah, but she also gets the sort
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of vulnerability and fragility, so you feel as though you get an inside kind of sense of who marilyn was. and you also get the fun. >> you mentioned the singing and dancing. there has been talk about it being turned into a musical? is that real? >> the producer is someone with a lot of great ideas. that's the latest one. i think it would be a wonderful, crazy idea. so i wait to hear whether they take it a little further. >> wait a minute. given your experiences on stage, would you consider playing a role in such a production, if it were to pass? >> well, when i was 18 -- i was made to tap-dance every day for three years, so the tap shoes are in the cupboard so i'm waiting for harvey's call. >> he's still got it! there you go. >> thank you so much for all of your years of great work. congratulations on your nomination. >> i really appreciate it, thank you. by the way, i want to mention that "my week with marilyn" is in theatres now.
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>> let's get a check of the weather with maria larosa. >> we have some gals from arkansas a little more prepared for snow than rain. how do you like the warm and dry new york city so far? >> loving it. >> let's talk a little snow here. everyone is wondering about the white christmas. historically, obviously, you've got the places in the higher elevations out west, the northern tier, interior northeast, have the best chance year to year. but here's what we're looking at right now. kind of those areas. snow on the ground in the rockies, more coming. and then maybe a thin strip through the central plains and the midwest. syracuse, bangor, a white christmas later in the week as that storm there is helping you out. but as far as today, it is all rain for the most part on the east coast. thunderstorms in the southeast. our big snow-maker across the west, diving down from canada, here we could see as much as half a foot or more in places like denver. that's a look at the weather >> good morning. waking up to cloudy skies and mild temperatures. a better chance for rain later
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today. ann, carl, natalie, back to you. >> nice seeing you. nhl winter classic right here on nbc, just around the corner. this year's matchup features the new york rangers and philadelphia flyers at an outdoor rink, home to the philadelphia phillies. we're joined by two members of the rangers, marc staal and good morning to both of you. >> good morning. >> one of my favorite sports events of the year, it celebrates the origins of hockey, playing outdoors. is it different from playing indoors? >> i think so. i think obviously there is different aspects, like weather, that come into play. and you know last year you saw a little bit of rain. and other years you've seen
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snow. so we're excited to see what happens. >> and that really sort of i guess forms how the game will go. but nevertheless, you have to rely on talent, so you're playing the philadelphia flyers. they are a pretty tough team. you want to call it? >> i'm not going to call it. but they are a good team. >> come on. >> we are very a very good year and we have a very talented team and obviously we're going to go in there and look for a big win. and, you know, i'm sure hopefully we'll come out on top. >> all right. well-said. that was very diplomatic. >> very diplomatic. >> classy. >> basically saying we got 'em. >> exactly. congratulations. one of the biggest sporting events all year, so we're excited it's going to happen. >> we'll be watching. >> thanks so much for coming on to talk to us about it. >> very big pleasure. you can catch the nhl winter classic january 2nd, 1:00 p.m. eastern time right here on nbc. up next, martha stewart's no-fail christmas dinner. but first, this is "today" on nbc.
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martha on "today" is brought to you by macy's. the martha stewart collection is now available, only at macy's and on macys.com. this morning on martha on "today," the ultimate christmas dinner plan. it never fails, you create the perfect menu, but you can't seem to get every dish done on time and to perfection. we have martha stewart in the house, and she is here with her no-fail cooking strategy, featured in this month's issue of martha stewart magazine, martha stewart "living." >> how are you, ann? >> i'm great. and happy holidays to you. >> you too. >> what's your secret for creating a delicious and yet manageable meal? >> well, everything can be made pretty much in advance. and then the last thing you do is pop the pork roast -- this is a pork shoulder, which is a very
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forgiving piece of maceat. you can't really overcook it, and it tastes delicious. and it's actually -- has a dry marinade. and then there's a salad, there's a bread pudding that can be all prepared in advance. there is a wonderful brussel sprout dish. let's go through real quickly. >> so it's a slow-roast pork. >> we're going to do the whole dinner in four minutes. >> okay. >> we have a quarter cup of salt and then three tablespoons of brown sugar, two teaspoons of cloves kind of broken up, fresh ginger, grated. >> and doing a rub as opposed to a marinade. >> yeah, this is a dry rub. and you mix these things all together. >> mustard you just put in there, right? >> yeah, dry mustard and fresh ginger. and you rub this all over the skin of the pork shoulder. >> smells good. >> and deeply, so all of the flavors go down into the meat. so you just rub this on. do you want to do that, carl? are your hands washed? >> you said it was a forgiving
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piece of meat, so i have no fear. >> that's right. so just rub that all over the surface. >> literally with your hands. >> yes. >> okay. >> even you can -- >> you can use your elbows. but you have to take off your jacket to use your elbows. then what? >> then -- >> carl -- >> and a cup and a half of water. and oop -- a bottle of beer. >> now you're talking. >> ale or beer. that goes into the oven and roasts at 325 for four hours. and then you -- at the last half hour, you add kumquats that have been rubbed with honey. >> are those easy to find? >> they're in every store. and now the salad is fennel, carrots and raw beatets and use man dough lynn. >> can i tell you something, you
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can do this ahead, and it just -- it's so easy. >> yes. and look how nicely this slices. so beautifully. so slice it up. keep that in the fridge. the vinaigrette is shall lot, lemon, salt, orange juice and sherry vinegar, some fennel seed and olive oil. and you mix this up and pour it over the salad, mix it nicely, and you have a really delicious, fresh salad. >> and colorful. and it sort of is a light item. >> yeah, all of the recipes are in the magazine or on our website or on the "today" show website. >> we have a minute left. >> okay. bread pudding is beautiful. day-old bread, brioche, salad, cele celery, garlic, mix this together, pour in the heavy cream. >> heavy cream? >> yes, the stock. whisk up the eggs. a lot of things. thyme. it's bread pudding. >> and sage and some salt and
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pepper. all of it? >> all of it in here. put it in a buttered baking dish, these go in two. and look what comes out. it's so beautiful. >> can i tell you something? that would be a beautiful presentation. >> that's what the pork roast looks like. i didn't even mention the soup, but this is just a leek potato soup. the brussel sprouts baked with cheese. it's a magnificent dinner. >> the salad looks beautiful. and then you also have this beautiful little -- >> yep, this is like a puffed pastry ring filled with pastry cream, whipped cream, candied orange -- >> not too early to start doing this now. >> well, you can get this and freeze it, you can freeze the ring, but not the filling. you can cut up the bread, freeze that. there's a lot of stuff you can do. >> martha stewart, happy holidays. >> same to you. >> and happy holidays. coming up next, still ahead, a special holiday performance from none other than tony bennett. that's right, hang around, martha. get the technology they love, on the network they deserve.
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♪ back at 8:45. this morning on leonard's look, mike leonard has a story about the spirit of the season. it has nothing to do with christmas, but it will warm your heart. ♪ >> reporter: they had just moved into this modest house in a working-class chicago neighborhood when joe de grief and his wife cathy ward suddenly found themselves pondering what might had been, had they held on to the small fortune that was briefly in their grasp. >> just always thinking when we find something that needs to be fixed in the house, we're like -- >> just like every other -- >> what if. just a lot of what ifs. not a second thought. just what if. >> reporter: joe is a mechanic for american airlines. cathy is a 911 dispamp patcher at o'hare, both working odd hours for the sake of their children. >> he works midnight shifts, i work afternoons so we don't need
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a babysitter. >> reporter: what they could use, like most everybody, is financial security, which suddenly seemed possible just a few months ago, after buying this house from the descend absents of a deceased elderly woman who lived here. none of the woman's surviving family members wanted her time-worn furniture. so joe and cathy bought the house and everything inside. some of it they kept. but much had to go, including the woman's ancient bed. >> so i moved the mattress off the box springs, and there was a blue bag in between the mattress and the box springs. >> reporter: a blue money bag. and in it? >> $23,840. >> reporter: nobody, besides themselves, knew anything about it. >> we kind of looked at each other and said we have to give the money back. >> reporter: you didn't have to. >> i guess legally we didn't have to, yes. but we had to. just -- i mean, we had to. >> it was funny, because the night before, we were saying this is what needs to happen.
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we need new windows. it's like an icebox in here when the wind blows, we need new windows, we need new electric. so we were going over this in our -- at our dinner table the night before. ♪ >> reporter: despite their financial needs, cathy and joe knew that the money was not meant for them. so they went about trying to find the woman's now-retired son. but he wouldn't take their calls. joe then got into his car, drove to the man's chicago home, knocked on the door, and when he appeared, joe told him about finding some money under the mattress. he kind of scoffed, perhaps expecting 20 or $30. then asked, how much? >> i said, just a little over $23,800. and his -- his eyes got big. his mouth dropped open. and i thought he was going to have a heart attack or pass out or something. but then his eyes teared up and he gave me a great big hug. ♪ >> reporter: at st. john's
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catholic church in the heart of chicago, a young family sits in quiet refuserence, counting their blessings while discounting any suggestion that their generous act makes them special in any way. >> when pressed, most people will do the right thing. ♪ >> reporter: and if somebody wants to do right by them with a gift or a gesture of appreciation for their good deed, how would joe and cathy feel about that? and what would they want? >> just do something for someone nice. you will get the opportunity. it might not be $24,000, but you will get an opportunity to do something for someone. probably today. >> reporter: for "today," mike leonard, nbc news, chicago. >> up next, a live performance from the legendary tony bennett. but first, this is "today" on nbc.
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♪ the toyota concert series on "today," brought to you by toyota. 2011 has been an especially good year for music legend tony bennett. his most recent album debuted at number one and received three grammy nominations. and now bennett is releasing all 73 cds worth of his music in a new box set. it's called "tony bennett, the
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complete collection." mr. bennett, we're overjoyed to say good morning to you. >> merry christmas. >> three grammy nominations. you've already won 15. do you need anymore? >> no, that's fine. >> do you ever feel like you've had enough? >> no, i've had enough. >> really? >> no desire to retire. the public has been wonderful to me. so i'm going to keep going. >> so when you say complete collection, there actually may be more coming still. >> i think there might be. >> we'll have to do that again. what do you want for christmas? you're now at 82. >> just a peaceful world. >> that's a very good wish. and we -- i think a lot of us would wish that your wish comes true. >> thank you. >> you're going to be singing from your christmasel album, "i'll be home for christmas" as you will be this christmas. >> right. >> ladies and gentlemen, here is tony bennett. >> thank you. ♪ ♪
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♪ i'll be home for christmas ♪ you can count on me ♪ please have snow and mistletoe and presents on the tree ♪ ♪ ♪ christmas eve will find me ♪ where the love lights glean ♪ i'll be home for christmas if only in my dreams ♪
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♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ christmas eve will find me where the love light gleams ♪ ♪ ♪ yes i'll be home for christmas
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if only in my dreams ♪ ♪ ♪ if only in my dreams ♪ >> merry christmas! ♪ mr. tony bennett. we love you, tony. and we'll be back with one more song a little bit later. but first, your local news.
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>> live, local, latebreaking. this is wbal-tv 11 news today in baltimore. >> good morning. i am mindy basara. let's look at one of our top stories. city police are investigating an overnight shooting. police and fire crews responded to the medicine east-end community just before midnight. they found a woman suffering a
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gunshot wounds. this the second reported shooting
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>> we are heading into the upper 50's and low sixties for the high temperatures. showers are likely, especially into the afternoon. seven-day forecast, 58 tomorrow, more rain thursday night into friday.
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